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Musk's Angry Reaction to Apple's Partnership With OpenAI

Elon Musk's reaction to Apple's partnership with OpenAI reveals why it's a stroke of genius. Musk has his own AI ambitions and this partnership makes it a lot less likely anyone will give it a shot.

By Inc.Arabia Staff
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As expected, on Monday, at its annual developer conference, Apple announced that it was partnering with OpenAI to integrate ChatGPT into the next version of its operating platforms. Well, technically, I'm not sure anyone actually said "OpenAI," but ChatGPT was mentioned quite a bit at the end of the keynote. 

The partnership had been previously reported by Mark Gurman of Bloomberg, and Apple is positioning it as separate from what it calls "Apple Intelligence," which runs entirely on its own models, and on its own server hardware. ChatGPT runs on Microsoft's Azure cloud compute platform. The combination of Apple Intelligence and ChatGPT is meant to help Apple catch up in an area where it was woefully behind its competition.

One person who took notice of the partnership was Tesla and X CEO Elon Musk, who seems very angry about the whole thing. Musk posted a series of tweets expressing his displeasure with the integration: 

"If Apple integrates OpenAl at the OS level, then Apple devices will be banned at my companies. That is an unacceptable security violation ... And visitors will have to check their Apple devices at the door, where they will be stored in a Faraday cage."

We'll set aside what Musk means by "my companies." Tesla, for example, is a public company. Musk is the CEO but he is only one of many shareholders, and not the owner. Instead, I think it's worth looking at why Musk is so upset.

It's also not clear what he means by "unacceptable security violation," though he added another tweet that seems like an attempt to clarify: 

It's patently absurd that Apple isn't smart enough to make their own AI, yet is somehow capable of ensuring that OpenAI will protect your security & privacy! Apple has no clue what's actually going on once they hand your data over to OpenAI. They're selling you down the river.

For what it's worth, Apple has said that you can use the integration without signing into a ChatGPT account, and--in that case--all of your data is anonymized, and OpenAI won't store any of your information or queries. If you pay for a ChatGPT premium account, Apple says that your usage will be governed by those terms. In that sense, it's not all that different from being signed in to the ChatGPT app on your iPhone.

Apple also requires you to agree to share information with ChatGPT before it sends a query. By default, it doesn't send any queries to ChatGPT.

As for why Musk is so upset, there is the obvious reason that Musk had a massive falling out with OpenAI and its co-founder Sam Altman. Musk has taken a number of shots at the company over the past few years. 

The more interesting reason is that Musk is building his own competitor to OpenAI, called xAI. He even recently diverted a huge shipment of Nvidia H100 graphics chips used for cloud AI compute from Tesla to xAI. 

The deal between Apple and OpenAI is interesting because it helps Apple catch up to its competitors--mostly Google, Meta, and Microsoft--while also further solidifying OpenAI as the leader in generative AI. The company is already tightly partnered with Microsoft and it gains access to hundreds of millions of new customers with its partnership with Apple.

As for playing catch up, Apple's announcements during its WWDC keynote show that it's taking AI seriously, at least Apple's very on-brand flavor of AI. It even gave the abbreviation its own meaning, dropping the "artificial" part in favor of its own name. Its killer feature is that it is contextually aware in a way that a third-party service could never be. 

This means that Siri can understand what you're looking at on your device because it's built in at a system level, and the company says that it will be able to "take action on your behalf." That, however, is separate from the ChatGPT integration, which is meant to enhance the experience when you make certain types of requests. 

The fact that Musk is so upset almost certainly isn't about security, but rather the fact that he just doesn't care much for either Apple or OpenAI. Well, that and the fact that iPhone users now have one less reason to ever use whatever Musk is building. 

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